The future of Afghanistan as a viable democratic state, capable of providing security and a strong foundation for its people to prosper, is undermined by the widespread, systemic presence of corruption. Although the immediate prospects for peace in the country remain unclear, what is certain is that long-term stability cannot be secured unless a sustained effort is made to tackle corruption. Experience from post-conflict countries around the world shows that widespread corruption undermines the authority of the state and its institutions and provides fertile ground for criminal networks to develop and insurgents to operate. Corruption also deprives the poor and vulnerable of essential services and limits their access to justice. By weakening the bonds of trust between citizens and the state, it heightens the risk of conflict re-emerging.